Originally appeared in PPN

A dark, wet January evening is not the best time to navigate the Central Line, but any discomfort was forgotten once inside Corcentric’s super chic London office building. Based at one of those achingly cool new buildings in the heart of the City whose entry systems are clearly designed to hold those from the Shires at bay, the collaborative working space exuded activity, passion and vibrancy.

A vibrancy that Corcentric has plans to emulate. With President and COO Matt Clark at the helm, it’s easy to see what’s driving this sense of community. An affable and clearly well-liked man, his inclusive approach to management and driving the best results takes the form of actively engaging with all members of the team. And that seems to mean actually talking and actually listening. Corcentric acquired up-stream procurement solution provider, Determine back in April last year, and being able to work in such an inclusive way with a buying partner is not always a given – in fact often the opposite is true.

Building on the success of the company’s acquisition of Source One back in 2018, Corcentric’s aim is to build a total end-to-end single platform. And with over 6,000 customers worldwide, it’s an aim which looks like it’s starting to pay off. While big-bang style implementations increasingly belong in the past, having the capacity to meet a customer’s needs all along the transaction process, delivers continuity and visibility. Having access to an integrated automation platform is why Matt thinks that we’ll continue to see consolidation and even some unlikely bedfellows in the solution provider partnership space.

The beauty of the Corcentric platform is in its ability to scale according to a customer’s needs. If ROI in one area needs to be realised quickly, then the customer can focus on that and build from there. It’s no longer essential to look at a global implementation across all business units and grapple with the business change strategies that would necessitate. Of course, a more piece-meal approach does cause some headaches for Corcentric’s own forecasting – but no more so than for some of its competitors.

The difference, Matt would argue, is in their approach. And as Gérard Dahan, Senior VP EMEA said, “it’s no good going into an organisation and simply selling software, you have to look at the business objectives of your potential customer, their areas of weakness and help them overcome their problems. And if you can also do that via an easy to use interface, then it’s going to work.”

“The most important thing,” Gérard added, “is to make sure the key players are in the room. Without executive support, the project will fail. But without the practitioners in the room – you may as well go home. It’s like the planets, everything has to be in alignment.”

But it’s a journey that Corcentric feel they’re just at the start of. As we tumbled out of their offices, heading to an evening meeting analysts and practitioners at Searcy’s at The Gherkin, Matt spoke animatedly about their Innovation Lab. As we discussed AI, the Internet of Things and the future of NLP and conversational commerce, we were whooshed up to the top floor, to a view dwarfing Tower Bridge and an older London below. If it was meant to be a metaphor for a company taking its thrust ahead seriously, it kind of worked.